Author’s Music Mix: Donny Hathaway And Ice Cube

Writing about sex and relationships among the young, gifted, beautiful and black has made Helena Andrews a literary star. While she's promoting her new book, she shares her favorite musical play list. Andrews says she has soul legend Donny Hathaway and rapper Ice Cube in her ear.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

Next to our occasional segment we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask some of our guests about what they're listening to these days. Today, author Helena Andrews. You'll hear about her new book where she shares some of her rocky, yet funny experiences seeking out the best things in life, including a soul mate. But, first, she tells us about the songs she kicks back to.

Ms. HELENA ANDREWS (Author, "Bitch Is the New Black"): My name is Helena Andrews, author of "B Is the New Black" and I don't know how to drive, so I don't listen to any contemporary music because I never listen to the radio. And my favorite song is Ella Fitzgerald's "Manhattan."

(Soundbite of song, "Manhattan")

Ms. ELLA FITZGERALD (Musician): (Singing) Summer journeys to Niagara and to other places aggravate all our cares. We'll save our fares.

Ms. ANDREWS: It makes New York just sound like a clean, blue-skied, great smelling city that everyone would want to live in and I think that's the dream everyone has of New York.

(Soundbite of song, "Manhattan")

Ms. FITZGERALD: (Singing) We'll have Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island too. It's lovely going through the zoo. It's very fancy on old Delancy Street, you know. The subway charms us so when balmy breezes blow to and fro. And tell me what street...

Ms. ANDREWS: I'm also listening to Donny Hathaway's "For All We Know," which is a song about just the ephemeral quality of life. It's my favorite song ever.

(Soundbite of song, "For All We Know")

Mr. DONNY HATHAWAY (Musician): (Singing) For all we know we may never meet again.

Ms. ANDREWS: I love this song because it's about the fact that we know nothing of how temporal or important life is until it might be over, so you have to enjoy every single minute.

(Soundbite of song, "For All We Know")

Mr. HATHAWAY: (Singing) Tomorrow was made for some. Tomorrow may never come. For all we know.

Ms. ANDREWS: And I'm also listening to Ice Cube's "Today Was a Good Day."

(Soundbite of song, "Today Was a Good Day")

ICE CUBE (Musician): (Rapping) Just waking up in the morning, got to thank God. I don't know, but today seems kind of odd. No barkin' from the dog. No smog. And mama cooked a breakfast with no hog. I got my grub on...

Ms. ANDREWS: I'm from Los Angeles, and my family grew up in Compton, California. And it perfectly sums up a day where everything goes right.

(Soundbite of song, "Today Was a Good Day")

ICE CUBE: (Rapping) My pager's still blowing up. Today I didn't even have to use my AK. I got to say it was a good day.

MARTIN: That was author Helena Andrews telling us what's playing in her ear. Coming up, we'll hear about her new book. It's called - editing here - "B is the New Black." We're not going to say it, because it rhymes with, you know, you get the idea. She'll tell you about it. That's just ahead on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.

(Soundbite of song, "Today Was a Good Day")

MARTIN: This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.

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